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Pan-Acousticon

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Album Review

An elaborate work from the New York composer, improviser, and harpist, Pan-Acousticon is the result of more than three years of work in refining the fusion of her multi-disciplinary work. Mixing electronics and sampling with more classical orchestration — even touching on avant rock and jazz — the mastery of Zeena Parkins is in her seamless arrangements of evolving textures and rich-string tones which draw on a diverse pallet of influences yet never sound pastiche. Her themes are suggestive of folk, klezmer, and avant pop, and given her background in avant-garde and experimental circles, there is a fair degree of angular juxtaposition and spirited noise. Pan-Acousticon is evidence of a mastered craft; through many experimental and improvisational projects, Zeena Parkins has developed a striking and singular voice in new music composition, a voice which is always challenging, poetic, and deeply considered. The small ensemble consists of the composer on electric harp, piano, sampler, and accordion with Sara Parkins and Margaret Parkins on violin and cello, Jim Pugliese on percussion, and Mark Stewart on guitar. The group maintains a high degree of playfulness and dexterity throughout. That the album is co-produced by Elliott Sharp and appears on radical composer John Zorn's Tzadik label should be endorsement enough.

Biography

Born: 1956 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Zeena Parkins plays the harp, piano, accordion, and sampler in a variety of improvised, new music, modern composed, and avant-garde jazz settings. Born in Detroit, Michigan, she studied dance, harp, and classical piano, and earned a Fine Arts degree from Bard College. Parkins moved to N.Y.C. in 1984, where she began collaborating with other musicians in downtown's avant-garde music scene. She performed in Butch Morris' ensembles and in John Zorn's Cobra. She also formed Skeleton Crew with renowned...
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Pan-Acousticon, Zeena Parkins
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